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Baker's Dozen

Master Blaster: Kevin Richard Martin's Baker's Dozen
Jennifer Lucy Allan , August 19th, 2021 09:37

The artist also known as The Bug talks to Jennifer Lucy Allan about the records that changed his life, from anxious encounters with African Head Charge in Weymouth to being blasted by Swans at the ICA


Godflesh – Godflesh

This record really did change my life. I saw it in Rough Trade the week it came out, and they had some sticker on it saying 'featuring ex-members of Head Of David and Napalm Death', both of which I really liked. So I bought it on spec, didn't even listen to it.

I'd just started running a club night in Brixton with a friend who'd moved up from Weymouth with me, because we'd realised that London was shit if you had no connections, as we definitely didn't, and that it was impossible to get shows. So, fuck it, if you can't get shows, put them on yourself – we did it in a very meagre way. At the time I bought the Godflesh album it wasn't rare that punk bands would put contact numbers on the sleeve, and Godflesh had a telephone call box number for their flat. So I called them up and said we were running a club night and would love you to play. It turned out they'd never been offered a show under Godflesh before, so it was the first show they ever played. It was in this weird pub directly behind Brixton police station with just a vocal PA. Justin and I just got on like a house on fire.

What was the show like?

The club night was called the Mule Club. The pub was divided in two, so half the bar was off-duty policemen and the other half was this events room, which was carpeted and chandeliered. Literally all we had was this vocal PA that we brought from Weymouth. The bands would have to bring their own amps. Normally you put a lot through the sound system, but there was no sound system. I eventually stopped putting shows on there because it got bizarrely really popular, and at a Tar Babies show the landlord held me up against the wall by my neck with his fist in my face, threatening to kill me unless I turned 'that fucking noise off', despite the fact he was making a fortune out of drinks. But Godflesh unfortunately played before it got popular, for maybe 20 people. They pounded out this amazing racket, but what was so impressive was how clinical their riffs were and yet funky. The tracks were so slow, there was almost a double space between each pounding rhythm or repetitive loop of a riff – I loved that intensity, and the space that they created. I think Godflesh were really way ahead of their time. I must have tortured my neighbours playing that album so often, and so loud.